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Maryland offshore wind developer announces expansion plans

A Maryland offshore wind developer announced plans on Tuesday to expand on a wind turbine project off the coast of Ocean City and create a new steel production facility to make offshore wind foundations.

US Wind announced plans to expand its 22-turbine MarWin project off the Maryland coast into a new project called Momentum Wind, which would include up to 82 turbines.

Plans also call for developing 90 waterfront acres (36 hectares) into a new steel fabrication facility in Baltimore County at the Tradepoint Atlantic site – Sparrows Point Steel – to be built along with the expansion.

“Developing Momentum Wind and Sparrows Point Steel at full capacity will give Maryland the opportunity to bring steel back to Baltimore and become the epicenter of offshore wind manufacturing,” US Wind CEO Jeff Grybowski said in a news release.

The announcement included a lease agreement with Tradepoint Atlantic at Sparrows Point Shipyard, the former home of Bethlehem Steel.

US Wind said it will build on the port investment already committed via the MarWin project to facilitate the investment of an incremental $150 million to develop Sparrows Point Steel, Maryland’s first manufacturing facility dedicated to the creation of offshore wind foundations.

“The combination of expanding offshore wind and welcoming steel back to Sparrows Point is truly a full-circle moment for Tradepoint Atlantic,” said Tradepoint Atlantic Managing Director, Kerry Doyle.

When the facility is at full operations, it will support more than 500 local, permanent jobs, according to a news release.

Gov. Larry Hogan described the announcement as a “game-changing partnership between US Wind and Tradepoint Atlantic.”

“Offshore wind presents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to expand and diversify our economy and our energy portfolio,” Hogan said. “Maryland is proud to continue to be an example of strong environmental leadership, and I am confident that we will be a leader in offshore wind development for decades to come.”

The MarWin project about 17 miles (27 kilometers) off the coast of Ocean City, Maryland, includes plans for 22 turbines that would generate about 270 megawatts of wind energy for about 80,000 homes, starting in 2025. The Momentum Wind plan would increase that to 82 turbines when fully built in 2028. It would supply about 1,200 megawatts.